Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday Stuff

-- Dejan Kovacevic of the Post Gazette, in his "On The Pirates" column, gives a pretty good explanation of the bad juju the Pirates employed in the Nate McLouth trade, the production deficit it leaves in the outfield, and why Charlie Morton is a key to the deal. The tag line says it all: "If the front office keeps moving the finish line, no group of players can contend."

-- Jack Splat is out of the lineup today thanks to his dust-up with Pudge Rodriguez last night. In another small surprise, JR is bringing back Jason Jaramillo instead of Robby Diaz. He usually rotates catchers after a night-day bit of scheduling. Guess that tells us something about who's winning that battle.

-- How smart is Princeton grad Ross Ohlendorf? Smart enough that Tim Kurkjian of ESPN The Magazine writes: "He may be the smartest player in baseball and the smartest person in almost any room he enters." That's pretty smart. Then again, when you're a Green Weenie, crossing the street without ending up under a set of wheels is considered a sign of superior intelligence.

-- Speaking of being thrown under a set of wheels, like a bus, we think the flap between Adam LaRoche and Carlos Beltran speaks well of both. Beltran is trying to light a fire under an underachieving Met team, and LaRoche is sticking up for his Pirate locker room. Point, counter-point, and handled like clubhouse leaders.

-- DJ Gallo of ESPN chimes in with what the world outside of Pittsburgh thinks about both the McLouth deal and the Huntington MO.

-- In case you're wondering how important that extra year of control for young players is, consider this: in the past week or so, Tampa's David Price, Baltimore's Matt Wieters, Atlanta's Tommy Hanson, Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen and the White Sox's Gordon Beckham were called up. June's the magic month; you get four months of play without starting the arbitration clock.

-- reports that "Missouri ace right-hander Kyle Gibson has been diagnosed with a stress fracture in his right forearm and is expected to be sidelined for several weeks." Scrub one potential first-round pick for the Pirates. Maybe he'll last a round or two; then the suits can consider doing the Tanner Scheppers tango with him.


WilliamJPellas said...

Dejan hit the nail on the head. The point in any REAL rebuilding project is that at some point the rebuilding is fundamentally complete, at which point you (presumably) have a contending team for at least a couple or three seasons. After that---as the Marlins, A's, and Twins have shown---you start the process all over again, and a few years later, you're ready to take another shot at it.

But "continually moving the finish line" means we are essentially a minor league club, and that's all there is to it. Mind you, Bob Nutting and Neil Huntington are certainly far superior to Kevin McClatchy and Dave Littlefield. But then, so is a jar of pickles. Sooner or later, ownership will have to step up and retain a few---not all, not even most, but a few---of our homegrown stars as the presumed core of the next contender. If that does not happen, then they are not serious about winning and should sell the team to someone who is.

Ron Ieraci said...

Will, couldn't agree more. I thought a core was being set for a run in 2011. Eventually, you have to say I have these guys under control, I'm gonna shake-and-bake a couple of pieces, and take a shot.

An endless procession of three, four, five-year plans sure as heck haven't flown here. There has to be a point where you have a finished product, even if for a couple of seasons.

UtesFan89 said...

I think the core could still be here by 2011. It just won't have McLouth.

'Cutch is up. Alvarez should be up. Hopefully Tabata is ready, and maybe Gorkys too. Andy continues to develop (though he might have to move to 2nd if he's not going to find any power). The team adds a power hitting 3rd-baseman or something (1st baseman if they don't move Alvarez). And hopefully some of the pitchers work out as well.

It seems that NH & all decided that Nate's value had peaked, and that he was someone that they couldn't build the franchise around. Right or wrong, I have no idea. But they have been doing this for a while, and I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt... at least for a bit longer.

Ron Ieraci said...

Utes Fan - Thanks for the input. As far as McLouth, no, he wasn't the centerpiece - but he was a piece. I was guessing that in 2011 that he'd be one corner, Tabata the other, and McCutch in center.

First we trade the 30-somethings; now it's the 20-somethings. Sooner or later, you have to keep enough pieces together to field a team.

But you're right - we'll see down the road. It's just that road keeps getting longer.

The runs kinda surprised me, too. Here's the breakdown to date of runs scored/record from Baseball Reference:

Runs - 0 (0-6)
Runs - 1 (0-10)
Runs - 2 (1-3)
Runs - 3 (3-4)
Runs - 4 (1-4)
Runs - 5 (1-3)
Runs - 6 (2-0)
Runs - 7 (6-0)
Runs - 8 (5-0)
Runs - 10 (4-0)
Runs - 11 (2-0)
Runs - 12 (1-0)